Cardiac arrhythmia is another way of saying that a patient's heartbeat is irregular, too slow, or too fast. An arrhythmia can be a chronic or temporary condition, and its seriousness can range from harmless to life-threatening. If you notice anything irregular about your heart, you should see a doctor right away to determine whether further action or attention is needed.
Not all cardiac arrhythmias will present noticeable symptoms. This is why regular check-ups with a physician are necessary to catch problems that may need medical intervention. Some patients will notice certain signs of an arrhythmia. See a doctor if you experience any of the following:
- An unexplained racing heartbeat
- A noticeably slower heartbeat
- Fluttering in your chest
- Chest pains or discomfort
- Difficulties breathing
- Dizziness or fainting
Any time you suspect a problem with your heart, you should seek immediate medical attention. Don't wait until your regular doctor's office hours; head straight to an emergency room or certified chest pain center.
Treatment will vary depending on the seriousness and type of arrhythmia your doctor discovers. Some cardiac arrhythmias require no treatment at all, and some only need regular observation. If your arrhythmia does need treatment, you will have many options.
Fast or irregular heartbeats are often caused by an underlying condition, and they will return to normal once the condition has been treated or cured. If no underlying condition is found, your doctor may recommend a variety of treatments ranging from medications to surgical procedures. Slow heartbeats should usually be corrected by a pacemaker that monitors your heart beat and intervenes if it gets too slow or stops altogether.
Your doctor may also suggest lifestyle changes to treat cardiac arrhythmias, such as adopting a healthier diet, maintaining a consistent fitness routine, learning stress management techniques, or cutting back on harmful habits such as cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or caffeine addiction.
Learn more about cardiac arrhythmia by attending a free lecture on Tuesday, April 3, with speaker Dr. Sergoi Cossu. Reserve your spot by calling (941) 624-4441. We'll meet at the HCA Center at Promenades Mall in Port Charlotte at 5:30 pm.
If you have any questions about cardiac arrhythmias or heart health, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-877-442-2362. We can also provide a physician referral.